Physical Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 17th November 2015.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to increase the breadth of physical activity opportunities beyond sport available to children (a) in and (b) out of school.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson Minister of State (Education)

We want all children to lead healthy and active lives. The government will publish a new sports strategy by the end of 2015. The strategy will set out how the government intends to support young people to participate in, and engage with sport and physical activity.

Schools can offer a variety of opportunities for children to be physically active. Physical education (PE) is a compulsory subject at all four Key Stages in the national curriculum for maintained schools. The curriculum sets out the expectation that pupils should be physically active for sustained periods of time. Teachers have the flexibility to organise and deliver a range of activities.

Through the Primary PE and Sport Premium, the government has committed over £450m of ring-fenced funding to primary schools to improve the quality of their PE and sport provision.

Other programmes focused on increasing physical activity include Change4Life Sports Clubs and the Young Ambassador Peer Leaders programme. Change4Life Sports Clubs aim to increase the physical activity, health and wellbeing of the least active children through healthy lifestyle activities. In May 2015, an independent evaluation on Change4Life Primary Clubs found that around 270,000 children participated in Change4Life Primary Clubs over the lifetime of the programme (2011/12 – 2014/15). Young Ambassadors are primary and secondary pupils who promote physical activity across their school and lead activities with their less active peers.

Outside of school, more than 385,000 families signed up to the Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up summer campaign and over 700,000 children participated. The campaign encouraged children to team up with some of their favourite Disney characters and enjoy 10 Minute Shake Up activities to keep them healthy and physically active.

The government is also keen to encourage more pupils to walk to school. Statutory guidance for local authorities on travel and transport to school was published in July 2014. Local authorities have a duty to promote the use of sustainable travel and transport and to develop a strategy for sustainable local travel.

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